Hello everyone, Happy Lerwick Up Helly Aa day! Just a quick post to remind you that as tomorrow is a public holiday in Lerwick we wont be open but everything goes back to normal on Thursday. To learn more about Lerwick Up Helly Aa have a look here and here, every year the Procession and burning are streamed live – to view that see here.
If you’d like to get into the Up Helly Aa spirit we recently released the Guizers Toorie kit, Sandra designed this for Ella a few years ago and shes worn it at every Up Helly Aa since! knit in 2ply Jumper Weight in a group of fiery shades the fold over brim keeps your head very warm! UHA is known for its fiery procession which takes place at night and the Guizers Toorie depicts the burning torches as they near the galley. UHA season lasts until March here with different fire festivals taking place all over Shetland so theres still plenty of time for your Guizers Toorie!
Sandra made Ollie the Ewan Sweater from the Croft – Shetland Tweed pattern book, it contains 14 designs by Sarah Hatton all to be made using the Croft Yarn. The Ewan Sweater is one of two patterns for Mens jumpers in the book and there is a nice selection of other jumpers and cardigans for Women as well as some accessories. Oliver decided on the Boddam colourway for his jumper and I think it looks great!
Sometimes with a very flecked or speckled yarn its hard to imagine how the wool will knit up but this shows how the speckles really work well with the texture and cables in the pattern. Sandra likes to knit in the round as much as she can but she chose to follow the pattern and knit Oliver’s jumper in pieces, the Croft yarn has a good drape and can grow a bit when its washed so a big project like this is best worked in pieces for stabilitly.
I think Oliver is pleased with his Jumper!
You can see the Croft Shetland Tweed yarn on our website here and the pattern book here, you can also see more of the patterns in the book here. I would suggest looking through the projects made with the yarn on Ravelry too, there are some great ones!
As our yarn range grows and changes sometimes its fun to take a look back at one of our older patterns and try it in a newer range. This is what Sandra did recently with the catchily named ‘My Weekly Baby Knits Shawl L252’ – originally released in the 1980’s and designed by Gladys Amedro.
I was surprised how modern and wearable it seemed when we were rephotographing it, it would still make a perfect Hap for a baby or a christening but wrapped around your neck and shoulders its lovely and quite stylish! The Shetland Supreme 2ply is quite lightweight but also substantial due to the two plys, the worsted yarn of course is fine for next to skin and I can imagine it would look lovely in all the natural 2ply Shades.
Construction wise the shawl is made as indicated by my quick drawing above – you initially knit the edging first, the stitches are all picked up and the four borders worked at the same time in the round. The centre is then knitted from one of these borders and knit whilst attaching to the other two sides and grafted onto the last border.
We decided to rename this pattern the Sletts Shawl, which is where we took the photographs, its a bay in the town and made the perfect backdrop for the shawl. We have also updated the pattern with charts and updated all the abbreviations to the modern ones, so you can see on the product page there are now two choices for the kit – one is the original patttern and knit in L1 Woollen Spun Lace and the new pattern which is both written and charted in the Shetland Supreme. We hope this means there is something for everyone depending on how you like your lace patterns!
We hope your enjoying your summer, we have been been having some nice summery weather in Shetland so long may it continue, Happy Knitting!
As soon as we saw the Shetland Heritage Naturals we all knew they would be perfect in a traditional Shetland Hap, Sandra quickly got to work and just in time for Wool Week the Shoormal Hap is the result!
The Bestway K133 pattern booklet is full of inspiring Shetland patterns, (we have a photocopy of the pattern booklet for sale here) They are all written out longhand in very small writing but we were very inspired by the ‘Scalloped Shawl’ pattern, its a traditional Hap which you probably know has been everywhere lately. They have been made and worn in Shetland for centuries and we knew the nature of the Shetland Heritage Naturals would be ideal to recreate this pattern.
We have used shades White, Fawn, Moorit and Shetland Black in the Shawl, Oliver has told us many times that the Heritage is very similar is weight to the old Hap weight of yarn, long since discontinued but the soft and strong properties of the Heritage yarn especially in the undyed colours harks back to this historical yarns. We have added charts for the border and edging sections of the pattern as well as keeping the written instructions so you can choose which to use.
The construction of this Hap is that the centre is worked first followed by the four sides which are all worked individually and sewn onto the centre and each other, finally the edging is worked and sewn on. This makes it a great portable project as you are working each element separately before sewing it all together.
The finished shawl is approximately 45 inches square making it very large, warm and cushy. It’s knit on relatively large needles for the yarn (4mm and 5mm) which creates a warm and lofty fabric, perfect for wrapping yourself up in, keeping on your couch or wrapping around a baby.
If you would like to knit your own Shoormal Hap you can buy the kit here!
One of the nicest things about this time of year in Shetland (apart from lighter nights!) is the sight of Lambs. Lambing starts end of April and goes on throughout May, and all the photos in this post have been taken in the last few weeks.
The Shetland is the smallest of the British breeds and is believed to be of Scandinavian origin. It retains many of the characteristics of wild sheep such as natural hardiness, longevity and an ability to thrive on a low level of food intake from our heather clad hills and peat moors.
Shetland Sheep are naturally good mothers, they require little assistance when giving birth and easily lamb by themselves. You can see from the photos that the mothers fairly keep an eye on you when your near their babies! Hill sheep in Shetland average 25 kilos and the new born lambs birth weight can is ususally 1 to 2 kilos and sizewise not much larger as a cat.
Ewes that lamb on the hill usually give birth at dusk or dawn, this is natural instinct to lamb in semi-darkness to avoid predators such as the Bonxie and Ravens. By lambing at night this timing gives the lambs a chance to get to their feet. Lambs become quite independent after a week or two and start to graze and chew the cud.
At this time of year Shetland hills echo with the loud bleating of straying lambs followed by the answering call of its mother.
If you would like to make your own Peerie Shetland Lamb you might like our newest kit! The Peerie Sheep, this was designed by Sandra Manson who works at J&S and was inspired by all the lambs in Shetland at spring time.
We are proud to represent one of Shetlands traditional industries, this means occasionally we get some unusual visitors to our shop, yesterday this was the case when we got a visit from the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon!
For our international readers the First Minister is Scotland’s head of government, Nicola Sturgeon is also the leader of the SNP party so she was in Shetland on the Campaign trail for the upcoming election. Its always important to show these kinds of visitors what we do here at J&S and the effort we make to sustain the Shetland Wool Clip, we can feel a bit isolated sometimes from the effects of Mainland Politics but Nicola was very interested to see the kinds of things we make up here.
Of course Oliver gave her a tour of the Woolstore and Showroom as well as the Shop, we forget as we are here everyday but the first time you come in the shop and see the walls full of Shetland wool it really is like a sweetie shop! As always we felt proud of what we do here at J&S and no matter your political views it was exciting to have a visit from our First Minister.
All photos here by Scott Goudie, our resident photographer (oh and he works in the wool store)
Today we have an exciting new pattern to share, we often get asked about childs yoke cardigan patterns, much like our adult Hairst Yoke. This is one of the many kinds of patterns Shetlanders pass down generation to generation which makes it difficult to find a traditional pattern to make, but now Sandra has designed one for us!
The cardigan is called the Natalia Yoke, named after our very cute model and Kharis’ niece. It is knit using 2ply Jumper Weight and comes in sizes 22 inches up to 28″. It is knit traditionally in the round with a steek but it also includes instructions for if you wanted to knit it flat, the relatively small size makes it a great first steeking project, and as there are only 3 different contrast shades a great first Fair Isle project too.
If you would like to order the kit for the Natalia yoke you can do so on our website here!